Out of all of the kinds of accidents you can suffer on the roads of New Jersey, being involved in a truck accident is often the worst. The sheer weight of trucks drastically increases both the amount of force against your vehicle and the chances that you can get seriously hurt. You need and deserve compensation for your injuries because there is no reason why you should have to bear the costs of the crash if you did not cause it.
The personal injury attorneys at Kim & Feliz, LLC can help by representing you in a truck accident.
Truck Accidents in New Jersey
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 3,986 people died in motor vehicle accidents involving trucks in 2016, alone. The vast majority of these people were either occupants in the car that was hit by the truck (66%) or a pedestrian, bicyclist or motorcyclist (16%). In fatal crashes involving a truck and a passenger vehicle, the fatality happened in the passenger vehicle 97% of the time.
In all, 11% of the traffic deaths in America in 2016 happened in truck accidents.
Because New Jersey lies right between New England and the Mid-Atlantic and is crisscrossed by highways like Interstate 95, Interstate 78, and a handful of other major routes, a disproportionate number of these truck crashes happen in our state.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can be caused by a wide variety of factors, with some accidents exhibiting several causes at once.
A good thing to note is that according to the IIHS, very few truck accidents are caused by a drunk truck driver. Out of the 587 truck drivers who were killed in truck accidents, only 16 of them had a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above 0.08%.
While drunk driving is less likely to be a culprit in a truck accident, fatigue is a far more common factor. Federal regulations have been enacted to prevent truckers from driving more than 11 consecutive hours or more than 77 hours in a week. However, while these regulations are a step in the right direction, they are also difficult to enforce.
Even if they are not fatigued, distracted drivers and driver error can also cause a truck accident if a trucker's attention is divided between the road and something else, or if they miscalculate a driving maneuver. Accidents can even happen to the most attentive trucker if they suffer an untimely brake failure or a mechanical defect causes them to lose control.
Injuries that Often Happen in Truck Accidents
The injuries that you or a loved one can suffer in a truck accident are often catastrophic because the impact of the collision is frequently much larger than that of a regular car crash.
Some of the most common injuries from a truck crash include:
- Broken bones
- Neck injuries
- Spine injuries
- Severe lacerations
- Traumatic brain injuries
These injuries are not only incredibly painful and debilitating, but they are also very expensive to treat. Even for those who have good health insurance, the costs of medical treatment for injuries suffered in a truck accident frequently pushes into the tens of thousands of dollars. Extremely bad injuries that require years of medical treatment or that cause long-term debilitation can reach into the six figures. Getting the compensation you need for these costs can be one of the scariest aspects of a truck crash.
In some cases, the injuries from a truck crash can be fatal. In these terrible situations, pursuing a wrongful death claim can help loved ones recover from their terrible loss.
Liability in a Truck Accident
Most truck accidents are caused by a trucker who works for a trucking company and who was on the job at the time of the crash. In these cases, while it was often the negligence of the individual trucker that caused the crash, liability will pass through to the trucking company because they were the ones truly benefitting from the trucker being on the road.
The legal doctrine that allows this to happen is called respondeat superior and holds an employer liable for the negligence of its employees while they are acting within the scope of their employment. Making sure liability passes through the trucker and to his or her trucking company can make a huge difference in your ability to get the compensation you need and deserve.
The Personal Injury Claims Process
The best way to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries is to file a personal injury lawsuit against the person or the company that ultimately caused your injuries. This frequently begins by reaching out to an attorney who can investigate what happened, determine who was at fault, and start the lawsuit by filing a complaint.
Importantly, this process needs to be started within two years after the accident happened. If you wait longer than two years, New Jersey's statute of limitations will bar the case - leaving you uncompensated for your injuries.
New Jersey Personal Injury Attorneys at Kim & Feliz, LLC
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a truck accident in the state of New Jersey, reach out to the personal injury attorneys at Kim & Feliz, LLC. Our lawyers can help you by investigating your case, building evidence that you were not at fault for the crash, and then represent you throughout the litigation process until you have received the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us online or call us at (201) 585-2250.